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PET Scans Offer Information on Breast Cancer Survival

Certain parameters from baseline to chemotherapy midpoint predict disease-free and overall survival

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Positron emission tomography (PET) provides predictive information regarding survival in women with locally advanced breast carcinoma, according to research published online July 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Lisa K. Dunnwald, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 53 women with primary locally advanced breast carcinoma. Subjects underwent PET scans with [15O]water and [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) before neoadjuvant chemotherapy and at its midpoint to assess tumor perfusion and glucose utilization, respectively.

Changes in tumor blood flow and FDG transport from baseline to midpoint were prognostic indicators of tumor recurrence, the investigators found. These variables were also found to be independent prognosticators of disease-free survival and overall survival. Patients with a 5 percent increase in tumor blood flow had a 67 percent higher risk of mortality than patients with a 5 percent decrease, the researchers report.

"Our findings suggest that a small group of breast cancer patients identified by PET experience poor outcome. Early response monitoring would play a critical role for these patients," the authors write.

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